Charles Darwin was born in England in 1809 and belonged to a wealthy and respectable family. His grandfather, Erasamus Darwin, was a noted botanical expert in his day who published two important books, Zoonomia, and the Botanic Garden. In these books, Erasamus speculated about various evolutionary ideas that were dismissed as too radical (i.e., the nose of the swine has become hard for the purpose of turning up the soil in search of insects and roots). Darwin who in his youth read his grandfather’s books with admiration, later commented that his grandfather “anticipated the views and erroneous grounds of opinion” of Lamarck. Nevertheless, Erasamus may have unconsciously influenced Darwin in preparing the way for evolution by natural selection.(Darwin, 1958)
In 1818, at the age of 9, Darwin entered the Shrewsbury school, which was ran by Dr. Butler. Darwin later recalled that “nothing could have been worse for the development of my mind than Dr. Butler’s school, as it was strictly classical, nothing else being taught , except a little ancient geography and history. The school as a means of education to me was simply a blank”(Darwin, 1958). He was removed from the school in 1825, and was sent to Edinburgh to study medicine. There he studied for two years before deciding that he didn’t like medicine. But before he left Edinburgh, he was introduced for the first time to the theories of Lamarck. According to Darwin at the time he was not very impressed with Lamarck’s ideas. (Bowler, 1990)
In 1828, at his father’s suggestion, Darwin entered Christ’s College in Cambridge to become a clergyman. To Darwin a good education meant instruction in the methods and logic of thought. Therefore, Just about the only thing he enjoyed studying there was Paley’s works on theology, because of their logic. For the rest, however, he judged Cambridge to be just as much a waste of time as Edinburgh and Shrewsbury. Nevertheless, in his spare time... [continues]
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